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Five plan for sixth forms

School sixth forms could be funded according to the five-point formula proposed for colleges, the Government said this week.

The current system, based on pupil numbers, has "caused frustration" to schools wanting to offer a wider choice under the new A-level system, Curriculum 2000, according to the consultation paper on sixth-form funding, issued this week.

The proposed funding system for colleges - based on core costs, programme costs, achievement, disadvantage and area weightings - would be "ideally suited" to supporting Curriculum 2000, the paper suggests.

It would benefit schools with one or more of the following; a igh proportion of learners taking four or more AS-levels; a good mix of maths and science subjects; high achievement and low drop-out rates; or pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Our assumption has been that schools would wish to be funded by this 'differentiated' approach," the paper says. "Informal discussions lead us to believe that schools may wish to make the change in 2002 to the same type of differentiated system as will apply in sixth-form colleges."

Schools might have to provide termly data returns similar to colleges' student records, and the paper underlines the commitment to maintain funding levels.

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